I get this question so often! While I am only certified to help children up to and including the age of 6, I do have tips for adults and older children who are not sleeping well.
- Have a consistent bedtime routine – This is also one of the first steps I give to parents of younger children, but this is also helpful in older children and adults as well. Do some calm activities so your body knows sleep is coming soon.
- Dim the lights about an hour before you are to go to sleep. Dimming lights helps your body begin to produce Melatonin, a calming hormone.
- Try not to use electronics such as computers, smartphones and tablets before bed. The light from these electronics can actually stop your body from producing Melatonin. (Sleep Coach confession time – this is one thing I have not been able to stop doing, but it is a goal of mine!)
- Use white noise. If you have trouble falling asleep because of thoughts in your head, give white noise a try. White noise gives your brain something to focus on, instaead of all those worrying thoughts and to do lists!
- Keep paper and a pen next to your bed. If you tend to remember things you need to do in the future while you are trying to fall asleep, writing them down can release them from your thoughts.
- Don’t watch the clock. If you are having trouble falling asleep (or back asleep in the middle of the night), watching the clock will only add to your stress and probably keep you awake even longer. Try not to think about how many hours you have been asleep or how much longer you could sleep until you have to wake up.
- Get some natural sunlight. Naturaly sunlight is good during the day to keep your body on a consistent schedule.
- Do not vary your schedule by more than an hour. For good sleep hygiene, it is better to not vary your wake / sleep schedule by more than an hour from day to day. Keep your meal times pretty consistent as well.
- Exercise. A recent study by the National Sleep Foundation states that exercise at any time of the day results in better sleep. http://www.sleepfoundation.org/alert/national-sleep-foundation-poll-finds-exercise-key-good-sleep
- Eat sleep inducing foods. Food rich in tryptofan, carbohydrates and magnesium can help you sleep better. There have also been studies done that tart cherry juice before bed can help you fall asleep. See the following article for more information: http://www.livestrong.com/article/138374-foods-that-help-you-sleep-well/
- Get up and do something. If you wake in the middle of the night and can not get back to sleep, get up and do something and then try again.
Do you have other tips that can help you get sleep? Feel free to comment below!
By Michelle Winters